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Look Who's Docking: Lauren Hirshfield Belden, Author and Innovator

Lauren Hirshfield Belden is a true triple-threat! This California-based mom splits her time between San Francisco and Sonoma. When she's not playing with her munchkins (Olivia, 3 and Milo, 19 months), she's dividing her time as a brand strategist, wine maker and author. She's co-founder (along with her hubby) of Belden Barns, a gorgeous vineyard in California's wine country where they produce delish Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. In her spare time (ha!), Lauren also managed to pen the new book The Places You’ll Feed a hilarious riff on a Dr. Seuss classic about the many places a new mom finds herself breastfeeding. 

Here, a look at Lauren's mom must-haves:

Favorite brand of jeans? Don’t laugh, Uniqlo. They’re super comfortable, perfectly stretchy, totally affordable (we’re talking about $28 a pair) and I get more compliments on them than you could ever imagine.

Favorite maternity brand? I like Ripe and Michael Stars. While pregnant with Olivia, I was generously gifted some amazing J.Brand jeans from my little sister and LOVED them until they were literally threadbare.

Favorite T-shirt brand? Marine Layer and J.Crew.

Favorite piece of jewelry? It’s a tie between a gold horseshoe necklace made by my grandmother (who happened to be a pretty talented jeweler) and a gorgeous gold necklace from my husband Nate with a three-dimensional gold globe with tiny diamonds placed in all the countries we’ve visited together.

Favorite accessory? An adorable little sequined cigar-box handbag that was my mother’s. She passed away 9 years ago, and every time I carry it, I think of her undying style and joie de vivre.

What’s your must-have beauty product? Bare Minerals bronzing powder and the amazing new Love & Sage lip balms I was gifted by my friend Sage.

Favorite kid’s clothing brand? Tea Collection, though these days, I find a ton of cute, more reasonable stuff at Gap Kids (especially during the sales). 

What shoes do you live in? My gold Gap flip-flops. I need to buy a new pair every summer. When it gets too cold for flip-flops, I usually switch over to boots or flats--usually Melissa or Tom’s.

Favorite children’s book? This month? A tie between Spoon and The Day The Crayons Quit

Favorite music to listen to with the kids? Taylor Swift! It’s the soundtrack for our nightly dance parties. My son, a natural born guitar lover also goes crazy for Amos Lee.

Favorite place to vacation with the family? Martha’s Vineyard

Favorite family-friendly restaurant in your area? Little Chihuahua – a delicious, casual, affordable little Mexican place a few blocks from our house. Big bonus: a heated “garden” eating area outside in the back. 

Favorite app for the kids? For Olivia (3), ABC Magic. For Milo (19 months), Talking Tom.

Who you do follow in Instagram? @Babies4Babies @normalizebreastfeeding @thetruthofmotherhood

Favorite food to make with the kids? I hate to say it, but mac and cheese. From a box. Ideally, Annie’s. They go crazy for it, and it’s so easy. I also love making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with Olivia and letting her do the spreading and requesting of shapes to cut the sandwich into.

Favorite stationery? Anything letterpress

Favorite stroller? When the kids were tiny, we were all about the UppaBaby Vista. Now the Maclaren umbrella stroller is the one that goes everywhere we do.

Favorite coffee? A toss up between Stumptown and Blue Bottle. 

Favorite healthy snack to share with the kids? Ants on a log (be it a log of celery of apple slices) and popcorn rice cakes.

Favorite diaper bag? The Skip-Hop Versa.

Favorite parenting book? When things get challenging, I always love the advice in Becoming The Parent You Want To Be.

Best Mother’s Day gift? Breakfast in bed and this year, a painted pottery piece from the kids (the look of pride on their faces when they presented it was priceless)

Best parenting advice you’ve heard? Follow your gut!

What do you love about your DockATot? We’ve only had our DockATot for a few weeks, and to makes things “fair” Olivia and Milo (pictured above in their chevron DockATot) have taken turns sleeping with it in their bed/crib. The crazy surprise: without fail, the child in the DockATot seems to sleep more deeply. Might be time to invest in DockATot #2! 

Favorite room in the house to dock your tot? It’s found a few favorite spots in our home. In the kitchen area, then the kids can cuddle up and read a book there together while we get dinner ready which is nice. But even better, we’ve realized that whichever kid gets to sleep in it for bedtime or a nap seems to end up sleeping more deeply. (Milo and Olivia take turns using it in crib and bed).

What do you love about living in San Francisco? There are so many things I love about living in SF. Having grown up in New York City, it’s nice to have the comfort and convenience of city life, but in a place whose natural beauty and outdoor opportunities never cease to blow me away. I love the Presidio, Chrissy Fields, Golden Gate Park, and all of the unbelievable hiking trails and adventures just a short car ride away. I love that in just over an hour we can get to our vineyard in Sonoma which feels about a million miles away and the polar opposite of city living. I love the food, the sunshine, the easy winters.  But must of all, I love our community of friends. Nate and I are both so blessed to have met so many people here that we adore and connect so deeply to, and at this point, I can’t imagine my life without our “tribe.”

How do you achieve a work/life balance? Between running two family businesses, freelance brand strategy work, and parenting two small children, I can’t say that I’ve perfectly figured this one out yet! What I can say is that I love that our kids are watching their parents work hard and have a lot of fun doing it together. I also love being able to dial work up and down depending on what’s going on with our family. When things feel really hectic on the work front, once they calm down, I try to take a day (or sometimes, even a week) off to spend extra time with the kids. Nate and I also try to plan special one-on-one adventures with each of them, and to eat dinner as a family at least 5 nights a week. At dinner we do a lot of talking about what we’re grateful for, and family, friends, health and jobs/schools we love seem to always make the top of almost everyone’s lists.

What’s your morning routine? Alarms goes off at 7:00, unless Olivia, (who’s now in a new “big girl” bed) comes in to wake us up a little before. From there, it’s an all-hands-on-deck effort to get adults and kids fed, dressed, hair-brushed and in the car by 8 am, when we have to leave for Olivia’s preschool.

Favorite way to unwind after the kids are in bedCuddling on the couch with Nate while we watch a good (ideally funny) show on TV and share a glass of Belden Barns wine. It always feels amazing to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

You can buy The Places You'll Feed on Amazon.


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